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New York’s sports winter takes a hit with Jets’ loss

With the Jets dropping to 4-6, and the Giants still a mess at 1-8, at least New York sports fans can cozy up to the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis this winter.

Jets receiver Jermaine Kearse can't make the catch

Jets receiver Jermaine Kearse can't make the catch in the end zone while getting pressure from cornerback Vernon Hargreaves of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 12, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Brian Blanco

TAMPA, Fla. – Three words came to mind Sunday night as the shocking images were beamed across the continent from Santa Clara, California: Por. Zing. Is.

Because that mostly is what we have left of 2017 in New York sports — with all due respect to fans of early regular-season hockey — other than rumors from various baseball meetings in Orlando, and news of a new Yankees manager.

So, thank you, Kristaps Porzingis, for being you and for making the Knicks interesting (for now) in all of your unicorn-skills, quotable-in-four-languages glory.

Anyway, back to football. Sorry.

The Giants’ 31-21 loss to the 49ers was remarkable theater not because it mattered in the standings, but because of the magnitude of their collapse from Super Bowl contender to . . . not.

The 2017 Mets’ reign as the most disappointing team in recent New York sports history sure didn’t last long.

The real news was here, where the Jets’ 15-10 loss to the Buccaneers — who had lost five games in a row and were starting Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback — ended any realistic hope of a New York-area playoff entry come January.

That means the earliest a metropolitan-area team can win a championship is June, which will make this longest drought between championships in New York pro sports since 1905-21. Really. You could look it up.

It was a shame, really. Had the Jets been merely adequate on offense, they would have beaten the Bucs and gone into the open week on their schedule with a 5-5 record, widespread admiration and meaningful games ahead.

Now?

As the remaining weeks go by, there will be more pressure on coach Todd Bowles to give Bryce Petty and / or Christian Hackenberg a shot at quarterback. And if he does not, it will confirm once and for all the Jets have nothing there.

That sort of debate is a lot less fun than debating wild-card possibilities in December.

After Sunday’s loss there was talk of keeping everyone on the same page – something the Giants have had issues with – and riding the waves of inconsistency that come with a young roster.

“Myself and the other veterans have to pull these guys along and help us find consistency and be better,” quarterback Josh McCown said, “because every unit, at some point this year, has shown that they can play with the best in the league. But we have to do that for four quarters, and week in and week out.”

Said linebacker Jordan Jenkins, “Of course 5-5 is better than 4-6. You want to be 5-5. But 4-6, we’re not down. We have six games to play . . . The future is not over for us. That’s not how we’re thinking for these last few games we’ve got. We’re trying to win every game.”

Defensive lineman Steve McLendon said he believes the team can make a playoff run after the bye.

Rookie safety Marcus Maye said, “If anybody is in this locker room doubting us, then they shouldn’t be here. We’re going to stick together, keep playing. We’re going to keep fighting. I don’t think we have any quitters on our team. We’ll be ready the next time we step out.”

That’s the sort of thing they all say, and the sort of thing they should say. And given their level of performance and effort through 10 games, there is no reason to doubt their sincerity.

It beats the embarrassing mess that is the Giants.

But after Sunday, the Jets’ playoff chances are an order taller than Porzingis. Now they are playing for experience, and for pride.

It’s something, but it could have been more, and that’s a pity.

New York Sports